Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The CIA Cracks Down

No more talkie-talkie for ex-spooks.
The Central Intelligence Agency has warned former employees not to have unapproved contacts with reporters, as part of a mounting campaign by the administration to crack down on officials who leak information on national security issues.

The clampdown represents the latest move in what observers describe as the most aggressive government campaign against leaks in years. The Justice Department is investigating the disclosure to the media of secret overseas CIA prisons and a highly classified National Security Agency domestic spying programme authorised by President George W. Bush. Last week, the CIA fired Mary McCarthy, an intelligence officer, for allegedly leaking classified information and having undisclosed contacts with reporters...

Another former CIA employee who maintains links to the agency said it did not need to be blatant about threats because contractors and retirees who had relationships with agency officials understood that talking to reporters could have repercussions for future work.

Meanwhile, the House Intelligence Committe is now studying whether ex-spooks can lose their pension for "disclosing classified information even when not prosecuted."

Interestingly, I found this tidbit too on renditions and the investigation of secret prisons by the Office of the Inspector General.

Recently Rand Beers and Larry Johnson have claimed that Mary McCarthy did not have access to intelligence on the black sites in Europe. However, the CIA's Inspector General, as it turns out, is currently investigating the matter, if this report can be believed.
U.S. officials previously said that as of late December, some 100 to 150 people had been seized in "rendition" operations involving detaining terror suspects in one country and flying them to their home country or another where they were wanted for a crime or questioning.

The officials, who agreed to discuss the operations only if not quoted by name, said the action was reserved for people considered by the CIA to be the most serious terror suspects. But they conceded mistakes had been made and were being investigated by the CIA's inspector general.
It is hard to know who these anonymous officials are and what weight we should attribute to their words. But, they, at least, believe that the OIG, where McCarthy worked, is investigating the matter.

The question then is, when did the investigation begin? At what point could she have received access to this information?


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